Thursday, 20 December 2012


Always on the lookout for new classes, the McBaby and I went to a Tatty Bumpkin event at the Wellbeing Centre .

Unfortunately for the rest of the class, the McBaby had just had his jabs this morning so wasn't his cheerful self. Anyway, despite the grizzles, he enjoyed most of it and got a decent workout. Combining baby yoga and sensory, it's all tied together with a narrative about nature and environmentalism, and even better, today's special session was a fundraiser for Tommys and raised £85.

There's a photo and more info here.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pop! Save the Children

Do you send a lot of eBay parcels? Does a lot of your eBay profit get eaten up with packaging costs? Do you wish you were greener?

I am currently trying to sell everything I own to make a bit of money for the McBaby's college fund, so every time I go to the supermarket, I make sure I help myself to some bubble wrap when I'm buying my fruit. The supermarkets just throw it into landfill and then spend money on more packaging.

This saves me a fortune and gives my conscience a hug too. I use the bubble wrap to help protect my eBay parcels. I noticed a while back that a relatively small roll of bubble wrap is a ridiculous £3.99 in the post office.

However, my bubble wrap collection has got out of hand and we had a house viewing that needed preparing for, so I asked today in the Save the Children shop if they needed bubble wrap. Their reaction was one of the most positive I've had in a while and the volunteer showed me the basket behind the till that had one sheet in it!

So my charity thing for today was to donate bubble wrap and a book. Can you help a charity shop/your pocket/the environment by repurposing some bubble wrap?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Alzheimer's Society West Berkshire review of the year

I just received this email from the local branch of the Alzheimer's Society and thought I'd share it as it shows the value that you can add to someone's life by giving up a couple of hours of your time. Charities are really feeling the pinch at the moment with money donations on the descent, so why not make it a New Year's resolution to donate your time if you can't donate your cash?

Happy Christmas everyone and here's to a joyous 2013!

I would just like to say thank you for all the wonderful things you have done, the time you have so generously given throughout 2012 to enable all the groups to run so smoothly with fun and laughter and jollity.

Whether you raise funds, volunteer at the groups, provide with much needed office support, transport clients, organise transport the list is endless but however you volunteer it is so very much appreciated by us and the clients I am sure.

Looking back over the year we have enjoyed very patriotic jubilee parties at Singing For The Brain, Easter bonnet parade at Purley SFTB, a gentle cruise down The canal for Dementia Awareness week, 2 lovely afternoon tea parties at Josephs restaurant Camp Hopson but to name a few of the very many fun activities that have been laid on this year.

We are also very lucky and grateful to be Camp Hopson Charity of The Year and thank all the staff for all their fund raising efforts so far

A couple of quotes for you

A client said to volunteer yesterday ' this group has given me my confidence back thank you',

A carer 'thank you so much for getting my relative to groups and organising transport we wouldn't go out otherwise.'

It's so good to know that we can make a positive difference to people living with dementia

Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all

Monday, 17 December 2012


The company I currently work for (well I will until Wednesday!) used to generously support Barnardo's until cutbacks hit.

I am constantly aware that we have so much while others have so little, but on Saturday this was really brought home to me. The McBaby had a little party attended by other smalls and their parents. We didn't think anyone would bring a present, but everyone has been incredible and brought birthday and Christmas gifts galore - far more than he can play with!

So I've decided that I'm going to make a Christmas donation to Barnardo's on behalf on the little man. Hopefully he'll come to understand as he gets older that it is only by chance that he has been born into a family where we hope he will never go hungry. We're not at all rich in monetary standards, yet compared to many families across the world, we're truly blessed. We have shelter, warmth, music, laughter, food, drink, more drink, drink again, and love.

We had a lovely time on Saturday, and it is to my shame, but amusement that I have to admit that I saw an adult eating some of the baby snacks and I didn't say anything! We had music, singing and balloons aplenty as well as THREE birthday cakes. We'd like to say thank you to everyone who came to his party and wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

First Newbury Scouts

As well as putting my 11-month-old onto the waiting list, I always boosted the First Newbury group's coffers by just under a fiver after buying most of the Christmas goodies at their fundraising coffee morning today.

I bought:

a little football for the boy

A packet of lovely Christmas cards

A Christmas serving plate

Some fairy lights

A board game

"Merry Christmas" bunting


and most importantly....a 10p whoopee cushion.

Charity shops in numbers - from Management Today

-9,000 charity shops in the UK

£974m total takings in 2011

-180,000 volunteers

-23 average number of volunteers per shop.

-55% of people used a charity shop last year

-£6.50 average transaction value

Also, living in Newbury I was pleased, but astonished to read this piece here on the town....

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas - "insert favourite Christmas song here"

We're into December, so it's now safe to talk about Christmas! I'm not going to lecture you on how it's the time of year to think about those less fortunate than yourself, but if, like me, you're drowning in stuff and people are asking what you'd like then here are some charity initatives that you might like to have a shufty at:

1. NSPCC's Letter from Santa

We sent one of these last year and it was very well received - make your young friends smile!

2. Operation Christmas CHild

All you have to do is fill a shoebox with some lovely things for children in countries all over the world.

3. Local to Newbury? How about the Children's toy appeal?

Simply donate a toy that's new but unwrapped.

4. A Kids Company Christmas

Netmums is helping the Kids COmpany to raise money for its "Merry Quidmas" campaign for children who will be alone on Christmas day.

Text KIDS GIFT to 70700 to make a £1 donation to help provide a gift for a vulnerable child.

Text costs £1 plus your standard operator charge. Kids Company receives the full £1 donation

5. Foodbanks

We all tend to buy more than we can eat at this time of year. Any extra will be gratefully received by a foodbank.

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Cats and dogs

Yesterday was the famous Thatcham Cats Protection jumble sale, and by virtue of getting the time wrong, we were there quite early and picked up a few things without being too much on the receiving end of the Spanish Archer (El bow).

I managed to get everything below for under £3. Not bad for someone who was holding a wiggly baby under one arm.

The haul was:

A rug for the campervan

Three pairs of jeans- one still brand new with tags.

One M&S skirt. Thought it was a 12 but is an 18. Oh well.

One very pretty rose patterned vintage throw for the sofa.

And then today was Dogs Trust. Three stalls in a hut. Very disappointing!